Steve Hogarth in 2017
|Ronald Stephen Hoggarth|
|Born||14 May 1959|
Kendal, Westmorland, England
|Genres||New wave, art rock, neo-progressive rock, pop rock|
|Instruments||Vocals, piano, guitar, hammered dulcimer|
How We Live
Steve Hogarth (born Ronald Stephen Hoggarth, 14 May 1959 in Kendal, Westmorland) also known as "h", is an English singer-songwriter and musician. Since 1989 he has been the lead singer of the British rock band Marillion, for which he also performs additional keyboards and guitar. Hogarth was formerly a keyboard player and co-lead vocalist with the Europeans and vocalist with How We Live. AllMusic has described Hogarth as having a "unique, expressive voice" with "flexible range and beautiful phrasing".
Hogarth was born in Kendal, Westmorland. His father was an engineer in the British Merchant Navy. He was brought up on a council estate in Doncaster, South Yorkshire from the age of two. As a child he became interested in music, his earliest influences being The Beatles and The Kinks. He taught himself to play piano. Leaving school at the age of eighteen, Hogarth spent three years studying for a degree in electrical engineering at Trent Polytechnic (now Nottingham Trent University). He was also a member of a band during this time, Harlow, who played working men's clubs. They recorded the single Harry de Mazzio on the Pepper record label in 1978. The band split in 1981 and Hogarth left his engineering degree, moving to London to further his music career.
In London, after responding to an advertisement in the music press Hogarth joined the band Motion Pictures. They were subsequently renamed The Europeans. Initially joining just as a keyboard player, Hogarth later shared the vocal duties with Ferg Harper. Signed to A&M Records, The Europeans released two studio albums and one live album. Hogarth sang just one track on the first studio album but sang five of the eight tracks on the second album.
In 1985, Hogarth and guitarist Colin Woore left the band to form How We Live, The duo were signed to Columbia Records. In 1987, following record company changes, How We Live's debut album Dry Land was unsuccessful. Hogarth considered leaving the music industry and becoming a milkman or postman. However, a meeting with his publishers arranged by a friend, Darryl Way, a founding member of Curved Air, persuaded him to send a tape to Marillion, who were recruiting for a new lead vocalist following the departure of Fish in late 1988.
Marillion heard the tape and were interested enough to ask for a meeting with the singer. Later accounts of this first meeting record that Hogarth turned up at band member Pete Trewavas' house with his demo tapes contained in a red plastic fire bucket - the audition taking place in Trewavas' garage, due to the presence of cats in the house (see below). The band were immediately impressed by his vocal prowess. Hogarth himself, however, took a little longer to make up his mind, holding as he did at the time a potentially lucrative offer to tour the U.S. on keyboards with The The. As he later recalled in a 2001 interview by Classic Rock, he had a choice "between the most hip band in the world, and the least...". In the end he accepted the position with Marillion, won over as the band wanted an equal partner and were offering a potentially permanent arrangement.
Hogarth's first album with the band, released in September 1989, was Seasons End, their fifth studio album. Since then, Marillion have recorded a further thirteen albums with Hogarth on vocals, the most recent being Fuck Everyone and Run (F E A R) released in September 2016.
Hogarth has also released one solo studio album under the name 'h' called Ice Cream Genius. This album had contributions from ex-Japan/ Porcupine Tree synthesiser/keyboard maestro Richard Barbieri, former XTC guitarist Dave Gregory, Blondie drummer Clem Burke, bassist Chucho Merchan and percussionist Luís Jardim.
Subsequently, Hogarth's side-project, The H-Band, has played live across the UK and Europe featuring a variety of musicians, including former The Stone Roses MKII guitarist Aziz Ibrahim, Massive Attack and The Bays drummer Andy Gangadeen, session musician Jingles on bass, Aziz's regular musical partner Dalbir Singh Rattan on tablas and Stephanie Sobey-Jones on cello. With Barbieri and Gregory, this line up recorded a double album entitled Live Spirit: Live Body in 2001 (released in 2002). Writing for a forthcoming second solo studio album occurred in December 2004.
In Spring / Summer 2006 Hogarth undertook a solo, 'h Natural', during which he played around 20 dates in the UK and Europe . It was billed as an evening of music and conversation with Hogarth at the piano. These shows were mixed and released for download, one at a time and for a limited period only, on Hogarth's (now defunct) H-Tunes website.
On 14 May 2010 Hogarth performed at the Relentless Garage in London to celebrate his birthday. On the following two days he also performed in Liverpool and Sheffield. To coincide with these shows a CD was released featuring some of the best tracks taken from his H Natural shows. This collection is called H Natural Selection and was available at the shows and from the Marillion website.
In 2012 Hogarth joined forces with Richard Barbieri again, releasing an album as a duo called Not the weapon but the hand.
In 2014 it was announced that Hogarth was releasing two volumes of diaries, written between 1991 and 2014. The first was released in June 2014 by Miwk Publishing and is called 'The Invisible Man'. Volume 2 followed in December 2014.
Hogarth has three children: a daughter named Sofi and a son named Nial with his first wife Sue, and a son named Emil from his current relationship with Linette.
Hogarth has cited The Blue Nile, Paddy McAloon, Mike Scott, John Lennon, David Bowie and Joni Mitchell as musical inspirations, and Peter Gabriel, Sting and Massive Attack as artists he would like to work with. On Sting, Hogarth has commented: "It's weird how few artists mention Sting and pull him out but he's such a brilliant talent."